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Interpretation Response #02-0304 ([PACE International Union] [Rickie Bearden])

Below is the interpretation response detail and a list of regulations sections applicable to this response.

Interpretation Response Details

Response Publish Date:

Company Name: PACE International Union

Individual Name: Rickie Bearden

Location State: KY Country: US

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

JUL 15, 2003

Mr. Rickie Bearden                                                   Ref. No. 02-0304
Operating Vice President
PACE International Union

Local 5-727
P.O. Box 405
Calvert City, KY 42029

Dear Mr. Bearden:

This is in response to your December 2, 2002 letter concerning the monitoring of tank car unloading operations under the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171-180). Specifically, you request that I review my response to Mr. Joe Campbell of Air Products and Chemicals dated February 22,2002 as it pertains to his monitoring system fulfilling the requirements outlined in the formal interpretation of the regulations, 87-4-RSPA.

From the information you provided it appears that more than one individual plays a role in the unloading process of the tank car. The HMR do not prohibit such a practice so long as a qualified and trained operator is monitoring the unloading process. Therefore, I must reiterate that my February 22, 2002 interpretation remains unchanged.

An authorized electronic monitoring system must meet the four criteria outlined in the letter of formal interpretation, 87-4-RSPA:

  1. An employee is made responsible for unloading and is familiar with the nature and properties of the material being unloaded;
  2. The employee responsible for unloading is instructed in the procedures to be followed during unloading and in the event of an emergency, and has the authority and ability to halt the flow of product immediately and take emergency action;
  3. In the event of an emergency, the system must be capable of immediately halting the flow of product or alerting the employee responsible for unloading; and
  4. The monitoring device must provide immediate notification of any malfunction to the person responsible for unloading, or the device is checked hourly for malfunctions. Also, if the proposed non-human monitoring system becomes disabled or inoperable, the unloading operator must constantly observe the unloading operation.

I hope this satisfies your request.


Susan Gorsky
Senior Transportation Regulations Specialist
Office of Hazardous Materials Standards

Regulation Sections

Section Subject
174.67 Tank car unloading